Nam Cat Tien national park, Ta Dung Lake and highland exploration (5 days)

Cost: $768 / person, as a part of a group, minimum group size is 2 people

Inclusion: Guide, manual motorbike including driver, accommodation (forest ranger station in crocodile lake, guest house in Quang Khe, hotel villa in Da Lat), entrance fees, all breakfasts and lunches, 2 dinners in crocodile lake and in Quang Khe, cold water throughout and a great insight into the natural beauty of southern Vietnam. Insurance for riding pillion.

Duration: 5 days. Tour starts  at 7.30 am on the first day

Instead of taking dreary highways 1 and 20 as other motorbike tours do, we hit the countryside roads to get to Dalat. The off roads around and through farmlands, plantations, reservoir lakes, jungles, and highland passes give you a vista into the natural beauty of Vietnam. Tour ends in Nha Trang where you can continue your trip onwards to the central or north of Vietnam

Full Itinerary:

Day 1: Saigon - Nam Cat Tien National Park, 150km

Highlights of the day:

  • Driving along Tri An lake and through the natural reserve
  • Hiking and exploring the natural reserve to at Crocodiles lake, located in the core area of Nam Cat Tien National Park
  • Quiet overnight stay in the forest rangers check point hut in the middle of the park

Getting out of busy Saigon, we take the off roads to Nam Cat Tien National Park, around 150 kilometers away. A ferry brings us to the other side of Dong Nai River for our drive on to and around Tri An lake, the second largest in Vietnam and built for producing hydro power. We continue our drive by smaller roads through the fertile natural reserve before getting on another ferry taking us to the headquarters of Nam Cat Tien park. This section may prove to be the toughest of the trip. No worries about photos stop and lunch, we know that you are on vacation, we offer a very relaxed trip with many photo opportunities, and lunch is served whenever you need to eat!

Upon arrival in the late afternoon, a pick up truck will drive the main way through the jungle and take you to a path, on which adventurers trek through vast areas of trees to reach Crocodile Lake. It's a moderate trek and certainly worth the effort when we get to the lake.

Dawn and dusk are the quiet periods at the lake for the crocodiles to emerge from the tranquil waters and rest on the grassy banks. If luck is on your side, you can get close to the crocodile and may also catch the sight of a herd of deer looking for food on the outskirts of the forest as a hard-earned reward for the trek to get here. A quiet overnight stay in the middle of the forest will be a memorable experience!

Day 2: Nam Cat Tien National Park - Ta Dung Lake, 130 km

Highlights of the day:

  • Driving though the many tea & coffee plantations
  • Many stops on the way to take in the picturesque scenery of the highlands

A welcome surprise greets the new day with many birds of different colors perched in the trees and wandering in grassy scrub on islets in the lake in search of food. In the early morning and at sunset, these birds sing in chorus and help visitors forget about their busy life at home. After breakfast, we trek back to the main path to be picked up and taken out of the park for the road ahead. Another exciting day with dust on your face, wind in your hair, camera at hand and poised for the next shot.

We drive to Da Teh, an isolated town surrounded by tea and coffee plantations, and continue over mountains passes. Let yourself get swallowed up in the picturesque scenic highland, a sea of green color everywhere you look to the endless horizon. As usual, we stop anywhere and you can shoot at will.

In the late afternoon, we check in at the guesthouse in the area near by Ta Dung Lake, before a discovery trip to the lake in the next morning. Dinner with barbecued fish from the lake or buffalo or free range chicken and local rice wine will make the night last longer. After that we can call it a day!

Day 3: Ta Dung lake - Dalat, around 100km

Highlights of the day:

  • Peace to your mind in this paradise on earth
  • 2 hrs cruising, swimming on Ta Dung Lake
  • Elephant Water fall

We start the day by getting on a ferry and cruise to other side of Ta Dung Lake. The jade colored lake consists of many islets and is framed by pine trees; on the crossing we'll pass some local fish farms. This lake is still unknown for most international travelers, even to the Vietnamese. The water here is so transparent that it reflects the beautifully shaped pine trees and birds flying in the sky, making the lake and surroundings like a picturesque painting.

After the crossing we ride across hills passing through an ethnic minority village to Lam Ha then on to Elephant Waterfall. After the waterfall, we continue through the centre of the flower farms area, mainly roses, hydrangeas and strawflowers... before checking into our hotel in Da Lat.

What could be better than a walk to a barbecued restaurant in the cool temperature of a town located 1500m above the sea level and enjoying a jar of warm rice wine or a glass of vin Da Lat (dinner of this night is not included but our guide would recommend you a good local restaurant).

Day 4: Relaxing in Dalat

Highlights of the day:

  • Sightseeing around Dalat
  • Physical recovery of your body after 3 days riding pillion.

Spend the whole day with some light sightseeing in and around Dalat such as the Crazy House, a jeep tour to the peak of Langbian Mountain. We will also ponder a look at the art deco remains of Bao Dai's Palace or just enjoy some coffee and a book at one of the lake side cafe-restaurants in town.

The second night in this town would interest you by dining in the nouveau art cafe run by Bien, a local artist who has his own gallery inside the restaurant where he displays his unique finger drawing skills (dinner is not included).

Day 5: Down hill to Nha Trang, around 120km

Highlights of the day:

  • Driving through vegetable farms
  • Beautiful scenery on the way down to Nha Trang

After breakfast, we take a stunning 140km winding drive down to the coast to the oceanfront town of Nha Trang. During the trip can stop at vegetable and flower farms, hill tribe villages, and coffee plantations. Besides winding by forested mountains for much of the way, the road hits 1500 metres as we traverse the pass and take in some spectacular views down to the coast.

After reaching Nha Trang, we bid you fare well. Your trip can be continued up north or back to Saigon by bus, train or plan and we can help you with your travel plans as well as hotel/resort accommodation.

This tour requires an adventurous spirit and a strong backside. Sturdy outdoor clothing and footwear is recommended.

For lunch, other food choices are also catered, including vegetarian.

Tips for guide/driver are appreciated.

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